Wher I live (New Jersey, USA) there is a lot of demand for housing, which pushes up rents, so buying a house (or condo/townhome) is often cheaper than renting, if can find a decent deal on a house and are planning on staying for a while.
I think the answer is different for each person. It used to be that a home was a good investment, but with the bottom dropping out of the housing market in most areas, I'm not sure that is still the case. Our house is worth about 30,000 less than it was four years ago.
Also, a house can tie you down. For example, right now, I don't think we'd be able to sell and you are tied into a mortgage.
On the other hand, paying rent goes to nothing solid. You pay it every month just like a house payment, but in the end you don't own anything. You also have costs with a house that you don't have with renting, such as maintenance, paying all utilities, lawn care, etc., so keep that in mind.
If I were very young, I'd probably do the following:
Live with parents for a while and save up a huge down payment.
Buy a house that I could afford (no more than one week's paycheck for payment, if possible)
Buy the cheapest house in the best neighborhood, so it goes up in value and you can resell
Make sure it has at least 3 bedrooms/2baths, even if you don't need that much space, because it will be easier to resell
Hope that gives you some things to think over. The worst thing in the world is to be so house poor that you can't enjoy your life and take vacations, so even if the realty companies tell you that you can afford a $200,000 house, don't believe them. Start with what you can afford for a payment each month and go from there. Good luck, whatever you decide.
Robert let me begin by saying my answer is going to be an obvious one for me, maybe not so much for others.
Things between myself and the mother of my children had not worked out, so the best scenario was for me to find an apartment. After I moved out I was lost, confused and really had no direction without my kids'! One night my buddy at the time wanted to introduce me to a girl, that girl is now my wife.
To make a long story even longer (haha) I moved out to her town of Stillwater, MN (where i currently reside) She had a quaint two bedroom and I could hardly breathe it was so small.
Weekends my kids would come on visits and since the apartment was so small, we would make beds on the floor for them. Understand my wife has a daughter, so to put 4 boys in the room with her was not an option.
Ok Ok getting to the end, my wife found a 4 bedroom house close by and we snatched it up and we still live here today!
Apologies for the long post, I figured if someone was maybe going through a similar situation this could possibly help with their decision.
The rent vs.buy analysis utilizes the tax benefits of home ownership as the primary element. There are many online calculators that will provide a general understanding of the concept. In many markets, you can own for less than it costs to rent. Buy a home to solve a housing need, not strictly for investment purposes.
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